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Buy and Ask For Books This Christmas!

It's no secret that the publishing industry is hurting a bit money-wise. It's up to all of us to do our little part, and there's no better time than Christmas. Send out e-mails and ask friends and family what books they want for the holidays. Then suggest some for yourself as possible gifts. Heck, they're gonna get ya something anyway, so it might as well be a book you want!

Some of the gifts I'm looking forward to this Christmas are The Dirt (the story of Motley Crue), Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, and a subscription to The Week, which is my favorite magazine (well ... except for Writer's Digest, of course :-).

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And speaking of Writer's Digest, let me throw out some of my favorite WD items that make for great gifts. These are my "Editor's Picks" for the holidays:

Chuck's Holiday Gift Picks:


1. A subscription to the magazine.
In May, WD featured a conversation with Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins. With the January issue, we celebrate 90 years with 90 tips of advice from over the years. What else do I have to say? The magazine has it all - craft, business, markets, conferences, interviews, contests and everything else. If you're going for bundle value, a mag subscription is included in the VIP Program along with a sub to WritersMarket.com and a whole bunch of other stuff.

2.Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript. Yes, I'm biased because this is my book, but let me tell you a story about it real quick. At the last conference I spoke at (South Carolina Writers' Workshop), this book sold out quicker than any other book at the Barnes & Noble table - and I'm not just talking about my books. It was the first empty spot out of any books. This is the third edition of the book, and people seem to love it because it's a one-stop resource for writing and submitting anything at all, be it short stories or novels or screenplays or whatever.

3. Getting Started in Writing: An Online Class. This was the first class I ever taught for Writers Online Workshops. Although I know longer personally instruct it, I recall this one, in particular, was a lot of fun and got people fired up to write. It's designed to challenge you in several ways so you can figure out what you enjoy and where your strengths lie.

4. Handbook of Magazine Article Writing. This was probably the first book I ever read on writing outside of assigned textbooks in school. There's a reason it's sold more than 100,000 copies - it's good! If you're interested in freelancing for magazines, this is your book.

Your Story Writing Prompts

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Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

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Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.